Penang Wednesday 9th February 0931 Local 0131 UTC
While in hospital here I have been watching BBC world news regularly.
Looking at the cyclone that has quit Queensland you will understand why we were so keen to press on in November and clear out out of the area. Though our strategy was pushing the favourable weather seasons to the limit, we successfully gained almost three months in the Pacific islands and we would not trade that experience for anything.
To some extent we the payback for that gain was unpredictable and unfavourable weather north of Australia and in Indonesia. This however is not really that unusual but of course like many other places we would like to have spent more time in Indonesia.
We next go to Thailand and had hoped to cross over to Cambodia to visit Ankor Wat. You may have noticed the news over the weekend though about the conflict between these two countries on their northern border.....
From Thailand we were planning to sail via the Andamans to Sri Lanka. This beautiful but troubled country has been suffering catastrophic flooding to add to the many troubles that country has suffered over the past decade and more.
Beyond Sri Lanka we had planned to go to the Maldives before heading through the pirate infested Gulf of Aden to ........ Egypt!
Looking at the news over the past week one would think that there was a conspiracy of bad news designed to prevent us leaving the security of our homes!
And that is my point, were we to "listen" to the news we would think the whole world is full of conflict, natural disaster and evil people. Now I don't suggest that the "news" is making up all these stories but there certainly is a relentless focus on the negative which tends to make us believe this is the whole picture.
I try to look through the news, see it in perspective and question it's bias. Just look at the disproortionate coverage of the Egyptian protests over the last week and you will see a good case in point. Disproportionate, sensationalising and politically very biased. And what about the Americans? Have you ever heard such hypocracy and double standards in your life?
At a local level a relation of mine met an old school teacher of mine at the weekend who was kindly asking after me. Having seen the news about the myotorcylcle accident the teacher noted to my relation that while I was his student (32 years ago) I borowed a clamp from the metalwork department to fix my motorbike and returned it BENT! Good grief even murderers are forgiven after 30 years nowadays! However not being one to run away from my obligations and to repay society here's a promise: if I get Rhiann Marie round the world I will buy a new set of clamps for the school!
Today it's off to the gym one last time before checking out of the hospital and heading off to Thailand to join Trish and Rhiann Marie and prepare for our visitors who arrive tomorrow and who we insisted continue as planned.
I will be with the physiotherapist in the gym. The surgeon at my request referred me to the physio department. The referral took twenty minutes to be fullfilled. Three years ago in a similar circumstance the surgeon who was dealing with my wrecked knee referred me to the physio. It took many weeks to get an appointment......
In both cases the physiotherapy department was 500 metres away.......
Please don't telle the NHS needs tinkering with. It certainly does not need more money - it needs some honest to goodness common sense before radical surgery.
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